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FLORIDA PANTHERS ASSISTANT COACH LEAVES ORGANIZATION AFTER ALLEGED PHYSICAL ALTERCATION WITH PLAYERS

Former NHL player turned coach Mike Kitchen has parted ways with the Florida Panthers after an alleged physical altercation with players. The report comes from Frank Seravalli and Darren Dreger of TSN.

"Multiple sources say Florida Panthers expected to soon part ways with assistant coach Mike Kitchen after an alleged physical altercation with Panthers player on the bench this season," Seravalli Tweeted. "Kitchen opted out of [Return to Play] participation."



Since that Tweet, the Panthers have officially announced Kitchen's departure, as well as several other organizational moves. Seravalli followed up his Tweet with an article in which he wrote: "According to sources, the alleged incident occurred in the third period of Florida’s win in Minnesota on Jan. 20. A Panthers player threw a water bottle on the bench in frustration, dousing Kitchen, who allegedly kicked the player in response."

One source described Kitchen’s kick as “full on,” saying he “reared back and booted [him] in the lower back in anger,” as a result of being soaked.


Kitchen started in the NHL as a defenceman, playing 474 regular season games with the Colorado Rockies and New Jersey Devils. He retired in 1985 and started coaching in 1988, beginning in the AHL. He then moved on to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He left Toronto for an assistant coaching position with the St. Louis Blues and was promoted to head coach of the team midway through the 2003-04 season, replacing Joel Quenneville. He was fired from that position is 2006 and went to the Florida Panthers in 2007 as an assistant once again. In 2010, he agreed to join Quenneville in Chicago and stayed with that organization until 2017. He once again joined Quenneville, this time in Florida, for his second stint as an assistant coach with the team prior to the beginning of the 2019-20 season.

Meanwhile, The Panthers also announced that Rick Dudley and former Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton have been named senior advisors to newly hired general manager Bill Zito, while Gregory Campbell has been named vice president of player personnel and development, and Blake Geoffrion becomes assistant to the GM. P.J. Fenton, Paul Fenton's son, has been named to the club’s scouting staff, while AHL assistant coach Doug Janik will not join the Panthers’ new AHL affiliate in Charlotte next season.


TIM TUCKER
SEPTEMBER 15, 2020  (14H40)
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